Vatican City photo

Vatican City Driving Guide

Vatican City is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-23 · 9mins.

The Vatican City, also known as Città del Vaticano, is the residence for popes since 1377. Before that, Popes lived in the Lateran Place in Rome, but when the place burned, they decided to stay in the Vatican City. Since then, Vatican City has become the center of the Catholic Religion. Even though it is recognized as the world’s smallest country, thousands and even millions of people still go to this place every year.

They visit to experience its magnificent arts, history, culture and strengthen their faith by being blessed with the pope himself. Driving around the Vatican City roads may not be possible, but you can definitely have the freedom to drive around outside the country. Since Vatican City is also located in the heart of Rome, you’ll just not be blessed by what you’ll see inside the country.

You’ll also love the foods, culture, and people in Rome that surround Vatican City. Going to this majestic city is a must-visit place for Catholic people to strengthen their faith by experiencing the great history of how Catholicism evolved through time and art enthusiasts to walk into the most incredible arts of various known artists of all time.

How Can This Guide Help You?

No matter how excited you are to visit the Holy See, planning and getting familiar with the city is always a must to avoid unnecessary inconveniences during your whole trip and to maximize the most out of it! This guide will help you know everything you need to drive around Vatican City now and even the locations you are allowed to drive outside of Vatican City.

We will also tackle everything from its history down to its tourist spots that’ll make your driving to Vatican city stress-free!

Geographic Location

Vatican City, also known as Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato Della Città del Vaticano, is located on the west bank of the Tiber River at the heart of Rome. Yes, you might say that this is a country situated inside a country! It is a wall enclaved within the city of Rome and has no own airport or coasts for ships to sail into.

Due to its location, the only way to enter Vatican City is by driving within the roads of Rome. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, and that’s another thing that makes people want to visit the country!

Being an enclaved country in Rome, Vatican City’s climate is very much the same as the surrounding city. It experiences mild, rainy winters from October to the middle of May and hot, dry summers from May to September.

Languages Spoken

Languages inside Vatican City are known to be diverse. During the Roman Empire, the main language that is spoken in Vatican City was Latin. This language was used for official purposes during Vatican’s first existence. But, when Vatican City became an independent state, its laws were published using the Italian language. Since then, Latin words in the country can be found with an Italian translation.

Although the Italian language has replaced Latin as the main language used in Vatican City, its government, the Holy See, still uses Latin as its official language. There are also numerous languages used in Vatican City by its Swiss Guards like German, French, and Romansh.

Land Area

The Vatican’s land area is only 49 hectares or 121 acres (0.19 square miles), thus the title ‘smallest country in the world.’ Boundaries are at the intersection of the Viale Vaticano and the Via Leone IV in the north. The intersection of the Via della Stazione Vaticana and the Via di Porta Cavalleggeri on South. The intersection of the Viale Vaticano and the Via Aurelia in the West. The easternmost edge of Saint Peter's Square at the East.

With that, the driving distance around Vatican city won’t be very far. Being the smallest of all independent states, the lowest point in Vatican City is Punto Itox at only 63 feet (19 m), and the highest point is Colle Toof at only 250 feet (76 m). The tallest building the country has is the St. Peter’s Basilica, at 452 feet (138 m).

History

A lot of people visit Vatican City because of its richness in history. The Vatican City sits on a low hill called ‘Vatican Hill’ since the Roman Empire period and even before Christianity existed. In the early 1st century AD, Agripina the Elder, a close supporter of emperor Augustus, drained the area and laid out her gardens there, resulting in many villas being constructed on the sit

Following that event, her son built a circus for charioteers in her gardens. It was later completed as the Circus of Nero, where many believed that it was in that circus St. Peter the Apostle was crucified upside down. The Vatican Obelisk serves as the last remains of that circus. During the early times, Popes doesn’t live in the Vatican City yet. They resided on the Lateran Palace and moved to Avignon in France.

When they got back to Rome, they lived on Quirinal Palace, but the king of Italy during that time confiscated the Palace and made it the royal palace and left them no other choice but to move to the Vatican.

Government

Vatican City’s government system is an absolute monarchy where the Pope is the head of the political system. Cardinal electors elect the pope after the death or resignation of the current Pope. Like any other kings in a monarchy government, the Pope delegates the internal administration of Vatican City to various bodies and officials. The executive authority of the state is delegated to the President of the Governorate of Vatican City.

For maintaining the peace and order within this small country, Corpo della Gendarmeria or the state’s police and security force is in service. Meanwhile, the Swiss Guards’ duty is to protect the Holy See, which is the government that operates inside the Vatican City, including the Pope.

Tourism

As of 2011, the number of people visiting Vatican City has exceeded five million per year. And who could blame them? Aside from people visiting it for religious purposes, the beautiful country is also gifted with rich history and culture. Not to mention the Vatican Museums houses the most famous art collections in history!

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Driving to Vatican City to see its tourist spots would be one of the best things to do in Rome. But before going and driving your way right now to Vatican City, you first know the requirements, particularly about the international drivers permit, you need there. Here are the facts you need for driving your way to Vatican City.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in Vatican City?

Vatican City is a tiny country, and only a few establishments are open to the public. Thus, driving inside Vatican City as part of your itinerary will not be necessary. But don’t worry! Driving is very much allowed outside Vatican City, which is in Rome. The place you’ll be staying and eating will probably be still in Rome, so driving on your way there will still be necessary.

Due to that reason, an international driver’s permit is required if you don’t have a license from the European Union and you are planning to drive your way towards Vatican City. If ever you have business reasons for going inside the Vatican City, this will still be applied since Vatican City is enclaved inside Italy.

How Do I Get An International Driving Permit in Vatican City?

An international driving permit is something essential for your driving to Vatican City today from Rome. It serves as the translation for your local driver’s license to Italian and other languages. So the person in authority will understand your details better. Most people in Vatican City use the Italian language, so get your international driver’s permit now!

To apply for an International Driving Permit, just visit our application page, choose a plan that works for you, provide your details like name, address, and zip code for driving in Vatican City, then proceed to payment. Make sure that all encoded information is deemed correct and proceed with the process. Just like that, your permit will be ready to use for your driving to Vatican City or in any location.

Is an International Driver’s Permit Required in Vatican City?

If you don’t have an Italian driver’s license or any license from the European Union, then the answer is yes! Definitely yes! Your driver’s license acts as your permission to drive within your country, but what if you’ll be driving in Vatican City? Now, this is where the international driver’s permit comes in handy. Your IDP will act as the translation of your local driver’s license.

People in Rome will mostly be speaking in Italian, and having an international driver’s permit will be very helpful in any situation. If you have a driver’s license issued in EU countries, it can be valid only for a certain period.

How Long Is An International Driver’s Permit Valid In Vatican City?

Driving towards Vatican City today will require you to have an international driving permit. And in Italy, you can drive around using your IDP for six months. After that period, you’ll be required to apply for an Italian driving license.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No. An International Driver’s Permit only serves as the translation of your local driver’s license to different languages so that if you decided to travel towards Vatican City, the authorities wouldn’t have a hard time understanding your driver’s details. Be mindful and always bring your IDP with you in driving to Vatican City. Distance from Rome to Vatican City will never be a problem, and you’ll be needing it when driving there.

Renting a Car in Vatican City

Driving your way towards Vatican City is undoubtedly one of the best rides you’ll ever have. It’s like hitting two birds in one stone where you can travel in the city of Rome as well. But, to experience that, you must first have a car to travel with. What if you don’t have one and still want to drive towards Vatican City? Worry no more! Experience hassle-free driving to Vatican City with this summary regarding renting a car for the road trip of a lifetime!

Car Rental Companies

Car rental is available wherever you will be starting your journey to Vatican City from Rome. But, for easier travel, renting a car in Prati, Rome, the place outside of Vatican City, will probably the best choice to rent a car for you and your friends or family.

Several companies like Hertz and Europcar give such service, and prices vary depending on the type of car and the number of days you’ll be renting it. Most car rental companies also offer cars with GPS that act as your guide or map when driving to Vatican City. The rental cars from car rental companies such as Hertz vary from Fiat 500 that can fit up to 5 passengers and is perfect for traveling towards the Vatican, up to Ford Transit Custom that can fit nine persons.

Europcar provides self-drive cars that can fit up to 4 persons, such as PEUGEOT 108. This is perfect for small groups of people or couples. They also have cars like FIAT TALENTO that can fit up to 9 persons, perfect for a big family or group of friends while traveling to Vatican City.

Documents Required

To rent a car easily in the Vatican, you have to make sure that you already secured the documents needed before getting there. Car rental companies will require you to have an international driver’s permit with you, especially if you don’t have a European Union license. You also have to make sure that your driving license has an official photo with it.

Bring your government ID with you so you’ll be prepared whenever they’ll be asking for a verification ID. Batter be prepared to have these anywhere you go in the country to avoid having inconveniences.

Vehicle Types

The Fiat group dominates most vehicles in Italy, so most vehicles available for rent will probably be by this group. They also offer some vans for bigger groups and trucks for business purposes. Either way, the type of vehicle to be rented by you will always depend on the number of people you’re bringing and the purpose of using it.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental in Vatican City depends on the type of car, the season in the country, the number of days you’ll be renting it, and the included insurance. Note that it is essential to have insurance when driving towards Vatican City. Theft is a common case in most countries, and it’ll give you peace of mind if you have insurance for such cases.

Car rental companies also allow you to have the choice if you’re going to pay online or pay at the counter upon collection. Remember that the prices of automatic cars and manual cars also differentiate. The cost also considers whether the car is 2-3 door type or 4-5 door type. Here are the prices of the most common cars available for rental in Vatican City:

  • Fiat 500 - 80 USD to 150 USD per day
  • Peugeot 100 UD - 150 USD to 185 USD per day
  • Volkswagen polo diesel - 150 USD to 200 USD per day
  • Fiat panda - 285 USD to 336 USD per day
  • Peugeot 308 station wagon - 200 USD to 240 USD per day
  • Fiat 500x - 400 USD to 450 USD per day
  • Audi a4 station wagon automatic (GPS) - 420 USD to 465 USD per day
  • Volkswagen caravelle comfortline - 450 to 500 per day

Age Requirements

Several companies allow 18-year-old drivers to rent a car, but in general, you must be at least 21 years old before you can rent a car and start driving to Vatican City. If you are under the age of 25, you’ll be required to pay for a young driver’s surcharge that ranges from 15 USD to 25 USD per day. There is no maximum age limit for renting a car in Vatican City.

Car Insurance Cost

As stated before, car insurance is an essential part of renting a car. You have to make sure that insurance is included in the car you’ll be renting because theft is a common issue throughout Rome and outside of Vatican City. Some car rental companies include this already in the package, and some have other additional insurance, requiring you to pay for an additional but still affordable fee.

Car Insurance Policy

Car insurance is an essential part of renting a car, no matter where you are. Having car insurance will ensure the safety of the vehicle you are renting and save your finances from many hassles. Make sure that the car you are renting has Theft Protection (TP) because it is mandatory if you’re driving to Vatican City.

Theft Protection will reduce your financial liability for losses and damages of the car rented due to theft and vandalism, which is a very popular issue in Rome. Another additional insurance to have is the Collision Damage Waiver that will save you from financial liability for any damage to the parts of the vehicle you rented that is not caused by theft. These are the insurances that you must include to have peace of mind and fully enjoy your trip to Vatican City.

Road Rules in Vatican City

Each country has its own rules for driving on its roads, and Vatican City, no matter how small it is, also has its own rules when it comes to that matter. It is one of the most important things to consider and know ahead before driving around this particular country to avoid getting confused and properly respecting the code in driving to Vatican City. Here, everything you need to know about the rules in driving inside and outside Vatican City will be tackled.

Important Regulations

Whether driving inside or outside Vatican City, road rules must be obeyed no matter what. This is to ensure the safety of all drivers and everyone who’s on the road. Rules are there for a reason, and so the Vatican released ‘Ten commandments of Driving.’ Here are the must-consider rules/code in driving to Vatican City:

I. You shall not kill

The summary of rules in driving in Vatican City is based on the Fifth and Seventh Commandments, which states ‘’ Thou shall not kill ‘’ and ‘’ Thou shall not steal ‘’. This means that a driver should be mindful about the things he is doing while driving a car because he controls it and should at any cost avoid accidents that could lead to death.

II. The road should be shared between people and should not cause any harm

Roads are used by all vehicles and are shared. This should be a reminder that no one owns the road by himself and should be aware that other people are also there to use it. Respect for each other must always be there.

III. Being cautious all the time will help you avoid conflicts that can happen.

Back in school, courtesy, uprightness, and prudence are taught to deal with other people and avoid conflict with them. These things should also be considered when driving on the road. Having and applying these three will ensure safety for all travelers onboard and avoid conflicts with other drivers on the road.

IV. Help your neighbor in need, especially those that are victims of accidents

Accidents are prevalent on the roads, and sadly, other people would choose to avoid or act as if they saw nothing when an accident happens on their way. This could be for any reason, whether they are scared to get involved, too busy, or maybe are in a rush to their destination.

But you must understand that helping other people in need is what you must put first, especially in critical times such as an accident. There are many ways you can help the people involved in an accident, like calling the emergency hotlines, giving a first aid kit, or helping the authorities clear the way. Such good deeds will be rewarded, but most importantly, you have done your duties as a good and concerned citizen.

V. Cars are for convenient transportation, not a means to express power and domination and an occasion of sin

Many people enjoy driving because of the freedom and power that can be felt whenever it’s time to hit the roads. It is a common mistake that most people make, feeling they own the road and have the power over it, and this law states that it should never be an expression of power and domination. Remember, whenever you are on the road, a lot of people are also driving there with you.

You must be careful always of what you could cause to other people by your behavior in driving and make sure that whatever you are doing on the road is an act of kindness towards fellow drivers and bring no harm.

VI. Convince both the young people and adults not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so

Age requirement for getting a license for driving is essential to ensure that all drivers can be disciplined and control themselves. Young people love the feeling of freedom, and hitting the roads in their cars can allow them to have the opportunity to experience this desire, not knowing the possible harm that reckless driving can do.

It is an adult’s duty to remind and educate young people about these things to train them into being responsible drivers once they are at the appropriate age for driving.

VII. Support the families of accident victims

Accidents on the road are one of the leading causes of death throughout the world. Such instances can be devastating for the victim’s family members, whether the result was body injuries or death. This can result in a lot of pain and suffering for the family.

You should be there to give support, may it be financial or moral, to lessen and show to the family that there is someone who cares and is willing to help them in such trying times. Helping other people in times of need is the nature of people that you should always practice.

VIII. Bring together guilty motorists and their victims at the appropriate time so that they can go through the experience of forgiveness

Guilty motorists, whether they intended to cause harm to the victim or not, should always learn how to apologize. It may not be easy to accept and ask for forgiveness, but it’ll be the only way to give both parties peace of mind and heart. The feeling of having hatred and guilt in you should not be kept forever. Learn and accept the consequences of your action. It’s the only way you can move forward with a peaceful and happy life.

IX. Protect the more vulnerable party on the road

Along with the cars in the road would be multiple people driving or just merely traveling with it. You’ll never know if the person you’re sharing the road with will be the vulnerable ones like babies, senior citizens, pregnant women, or people with disabilities.

That’s why being careful on the road also means that you are protecting the vulnerable ones. As a driver, it is your own duty to keep this at the top of your mind always to avoid having and causing problems.

X. Feel responsible towards others

It is your duty and responsibility to know what could happen when driving on the road. You should always have a sense of cautiousness whenever you are on the road to avoid harming other people. For instances where you think other drivers are not being cautious with their way of driving, you should be the one adjusting for yourself and other people inside the vehicle’s safety.

Do not express your negative emotions through driving, for this will cause you to act impolite, rude, and worse, be reckless with the way you drive.

General Standards of Driving

Inside Vatican City, public transport is not allowed. Only people with important business in the Vatican or the Holy See are permitted to drive inside. Due to this, only a few cars can go inside the Vatican City, and it usually has the same standards in driving as in Rome, the city outside the Vatican.

Italians build beautiful cars, so expect that the cars you’ll see driving inside the Vatican City will look extraordinary, especially that only important people can drive inside the country. Automatic and manual cars are both used depending on the preference of the driver.

Speed Limits

Since Vatican City has less than a thousand cars roaming inside the country, the speed limit is only 30 km/h or 18-19 mph. However, outside Vatican City, the maximum speed limit would be 50 kilometers per hour.

If ever you violated this while driving to Vatican City, video speed cameras will be able to capture you, and the officers in the area can give you a fine on the spot. So it is necessary to follow this rule to avoid getting tickets or fines by violating it.

Traffic Road Signs

Driving inside the Vatican City would probably like driving towards a beautiful palace where public transport is not allowed, and only those with private business can drive inside. However, outside or inside Vatican City, there are traffic road signs that must be considered.

These signs are to ensure and remind you regarding the rules on that particular area. Here are the important traffic road signs you should be watching out for when driving towards Vatican City:

  • Stop signs
  • One Way signs
  • No motor vehicle signs
  • Parking signs
  • No passing signs
  • No parking signs
  • Do not enter sign

Right of Way

Respect is very much required when driving in the streets towards Vatican City. Be mindful when entering intersections and give way to the cars ahead of you. Wait until your way is clear before fully entering the intersection. This must be kept in mind to avoid accidents and ensure the safety of all people in that area.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking is allowed only if there are three lanes on the road. But in the case of the streets outside Vatican City, it is much wiser if you avoid overtaking the cars ahead of you. There may only be one lane or two lanes, and a lot of vehicles will be parking on the side. So, for safety reasons of everyone, overtaking is very much discouraged in this area.

Make sure to obey the no-overtaking traffic signs if you saw one to avoid getting fines and bring your international license permit with you all the time. If you lost your international driver’s permit for some reason, just contact us and provide us with your details like name, contact number, and zip code for your driving to Vatican City. This way, we can deliver your newly printed international driver’s permit to you anytime.

Driving Side

Driving to Vatican city, you should always be on the right side of the road. Make sure to keep this in mind, especially if you are from a country that drives on the left side of the road. There are many cameras in this area that can capture you if you violated this. Always put this at the top of your mind to avoid being caught violating the rules on video while driving to Vatican City.

Driving Etiquette in Vatican City

Driving to Vatican City right now to see its beauty can be both exciting and scary at the same time. What if something happens while you’re driving there and have no idea what to do about it? These thoughts are normal to have, especially for a first-time traveler. So, don’t worry! Here are the lists of what to do in different situations when driving to the Holy See.

Car Breakdown

No matter what kind of car you are driving, car breakdowns may happen anytime and anywhere! Worse, it can happen in the middle of the streets! So, what to do when this happens? You have to stay calm.

Car breakdowns happen for many reasons and just make sure you are calm to analyze the reason for this properly. Try to put your car on the side of the road as much as possible. This is to avoid causing traffic, especially that the streets outside Vatican City may not be that wide. If this is not possible, ask for help already. Call the emergency hotline 113 to ask for assistance from authorized people.

You may also call your car rental company so they can provide you the help you need. Provide them your name, contact number, and exact location where the car broke down so they can go to your site immediately.

Police Stops

You might experience some police stops along the roads toward Vatican City since you are heading towards a busy street and a new country. But no need to worry! As long as you are not violating any laws on the road, you are in good hands. If ever a police officer stopped you, keep calm and roll down your windows enough so they can hear you and vice versa.

Just make sure to ask the police politely what the reason is for stopping you. Be respectful towards the officers. Give your International Driver’s Permit if the police ask for it and only give it to the authorized police officer. Never give your details to a stranger. After the issue has been resolved, thank the officer and head on to your destination.

If ever you violated some laws, be honest about it and be ready to pay for the fines or consequences of the actions you committed. Remember, police stops are there to make sure that every driver on the road is doing its responsibility by taking the road rules seriously for everyone’s safety.

Asking Directions

Some rental car companies offer cars with GPS that act as your guide or map when driving to Vatican City. If the GPS is not working for some reason, you can always ask the authorized people you’ll see nearby or even a local citizen to help you with your way to your destination

Although Vatican City’s official language is Latin, the people living inside and outside use Italian as their primary language. A lot of people will also be expected to know how to speak English since that site is where millions of tourists go each year. Remember to be respectful when asking other people around the location you’re driving, and they’ll surely love to help you out.

Here are some Italian words to be used when speaking to the locals on the site

  • Hello: Buongiorno or Ciao
  • My name is: Mi Ciamo ...
  • Goodbye: Arrivederci or Ciao
  • Thank you: Grazie
  • Exit: Uscita
  • Entrance: Entrata
  • Ring Road: Tangenziale
  • Petrol: Benzina
  • Diesel: Diesel
  • Motor Oil: Lubrificante
  • One-Way: Senso Unico
  • No Parking: Veitati parcheggiare
  • Four Lane Highway: Autostrada
  • Detour: Deviazione
  • Forbidden: Probito
  • Police: Polizia
  • To the left: a sinistra
  • To the right: a destra
  • To the north: a nord
  • To the south: a sud
  • To the east: a est
  • To the west: a ovest

Checkpoints

Going to Vatican City, you might experience some checkpoints. If ever you got into this situation, do not get nervous and simply lower your speed and roll down your windows to hear the officers. Checkpoints usually happen to ensure that drivers are following the rules to avoid any unnecessary problems that may occur.

Driving all-around Vatican City might be an exciting experience for a traveler like you. Some people might also decide to stay long-term to maximize the experience this could provide. So, If you are planning to stay on the site outside of Vatican City longer than six months, you’ll have to apply already for an Italian driving license. This will possibly be inspected during checkpoints.

Your international driver’s permit will only be valid for six months. Hence, it’s either you have to accept that you cannot drive anymore after the duration, or you’ll have to apply for an Italian driver’s license already.

Other Tips

While on the road, a lot of things could happen, like emergencies and accidents. This could be a stressful situation, especially if you are from another country and have no idea how to handle these kinds of cases in this country. Here are some tips on what to do when you encounter these circumstances.

What To Do During Accidents and Emergencies?

If ever you get involved in an accident, turn your hazard warning signals to notify the other drivers and ask for the locals’ help in warning the other drivers to avoid worsening the accident. Call the emergency hotlines immediately - dial 113 for police assistance, 118 for medical emergencies, and 1528 for traffic reports and give your exact location, the number of vehicles involved, and the number of people injured in the accident.

If there are serious bodily injuries, be prepared to provide first aid or ask someone to help you with this. Wait for the authorities to come and help you with the accident or emergency.

Driving Conditions in Vatican City

To fully enjoy your driving experience in Vatican City, you must also need to know in advance what kind of road situations you’ll be taking and what are the things you’ll be expecting when driving on the road going to Vatican City. It is important to plan these things to avoid getting shocked and confused when driving to the location already.

Accident Statistics

Due to it being closed for the public, the roads inside Vatican City don’t experience any road accidents. However, the Vatican is very much aware that road accidents are one of the leading causes of death worldwide, which is the reason they released the ten commandments for driving. The Vatican also encourages whispering a prayer while driving to have guidance while driving.

Statistically speaking, Italy, where the small country of Vatican City is enclaved, ranks 166th worldwide as the country with the highest death rate caused by road traffic accidents. Road traffic accident deaths in Italy, where Vatican City is located, reached 3,120 or 0.58% of total deaths in 2018.

Common Vehicles

You may have heard that Italy produces the best cars in the world and to that, you won’t be disappointed to see amazing cars driving towards the Vatican City. The main car that travels inside this country is the Popemobile or the car used by the Pope. The first-ever Popemobile was 1960 Mercedes 300D Landaulet.

Since then, Popemobiles for the last 30 years are 1979 Ford Transit, a 1981 Peugeot 504, a 1982 Seat, a 1982 Range Rover, a 1982 Leyland truck, a 1984 GMC Sierra, a 1997 Mercedes S500, a 2002 Mercedes ML430, and a Mexican bus. The plate number for the main popemobile is SCV 1, written in red lettering. The plate numbers of the other cars that the Pope may also use are in red letters. SCV is an abbreviation of the Latin Status Civitatis Vaticanae

But for the public, according to the statistics, the most common vehicle driving towards Vatican City is Fiat Panda, followed by Lancia Ypsilon and Dacia Duster. Small cars are enough for a group of people and best suit the busy streets outside Vatican City.

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads inside Vatican City, and there are no toll roads outside it. You can definitely enjoy your travel around the Vatican without worrying about the toll road fees. Although, if you are coming from other places in Rome going to the Vatican, you might encounter some toll roads. Make sure to be prepared for this if ever you needed it when driving to Vatican City now.

Road Situation

Being a small country in the heart of Rome, Vatican’s roads are also one of the shortest roads in the world. Its size is 852-meter (2,795 ft) or 1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in). Meanwhile, outside Vatican City, roads are much longer and wider. Expect that there’ll be a lot of parked cars on the side, and be careful not to enter a one-way street going in the opposite direction. Also, expect that it’ll be a bustling road since more than a million tourists visit Vatican City each year.

Driving Culture

Italians are known to be fast drivers, so don’t get culture-shocked by this. Focus on your own driving and never forget to follow the rules of the road as it will be for your own safety. Take note of the people walking by and always give way for them, especially in the pedestrian lanes. Be mindful always and keep your mind on the road.

Things To Do in Vatican City

Vatican City is one of the top list destinations of millions of people worldwide for a reason. Its rich history, culture, and incredible arts are to live for! That’s why a lot of people wish to stay and live there, but unfortunately, that cannot be possible. In this section, we will tackle everything that you can do in Vatican City.

Drive as a Tourist

Driving towards Vatican City as part of your itinerary is definitely possible! Although you have to take note that you can only drive around it outside and not inside. Driving in this location will require you to have an international driver’s permit that serves as your local license’s translation to various languages so that the Italian authorities can understand your details better.

Work as a Driver

Only the appointed people working under the Pope can work inside the Vatican. But, if you really fell in love with Vatican City, you can choose to apply as a driver for tours that lead to the country and as taxi drivers outside Vatican City.

Another fact for driving to Vatican City as a job is that you’ll be needing an Italian driver’s license and working permit or visa. An international driving permit is only valid for up to 6 months in this location. Assure these requirements, and you are good to go as a driver around this fantastic place! Who wouldn’t want to tour and earn at the same time, right?

Work as a Travel Guide

There are lots of travel and tour companies that give tourists a hassle-free way of traveling the Vatican City. This could be your opportunity to travel, earn and have the chance to explain and let the tourists know and understand more about the story behind the majestic Vatican City! Choose a trusted travel and tour company and make sure to have a travel permit before working there.

Apply for Residency

Unfortunately, as much as how you love to see the beauty of Vatican City from the moment you wake up until you finish your day with a good night’s sleep, applying for residency in Vatican City is not allowed for the public. Vatican Citizenship is only for those workers or people appointed to work inside Vatican City. It can also be granted to those who are part of the Vatican government under the leadership of the Pope.

Citizenship in this country is by appointment and not by birth; their citizenship will end once their appointment is over. Their citizenship in the Vatican can be extended to their close family as long as they are living together. Some citizens of the Vatican City who serve the Holy See don’t live inside the country.

Other Things to Do

Traveling for a week or two may already be enough to roam around the world’s smallest country and experience its wonders. What’s amazing about traveling to Vatican City is that you’re like hitting two birds in one stone. Since it is located in the heart of Rome, you can also travel around Rome if your time permits.

Only a number of establishments in Vatican City are open to the public. Some might need you to apply for a private tour to enter, but the experience you’ll have in Vatican City will surely not disappoint you.

The Top Destinations in Vatican City

Vatican City might be the world’s smallest country but never underestimate it! More than a million people visit this place every year, not just for the Catholic Faith believers but for everyone who wants to see its wonders! From its museums where thousands of arts are kept and displayed to its churches made from hundreds of years ago built by famous artists and architects, this place will surely leave you in awe. Never miss the experience of driving to Vatican City to see its tourist spots!

St. Peter's Basilica

The highlight of the Vatican city where millions of people visit is the St. Peter’s Basilica. This majestic church was built between 16th to 18th centuries. It carries with it so many stories of the history of arts, music, culture, and most importantly, Christianity. Under this church is known to be the place where St. Peter the Apostle, the first Bishop of Rome or first Pope, was buried.

It was then that Christianity during the Roman Empire respected the place and built a church around it to remember the martyrdom of St. Peter. Several arts from various known artists like Michelangelo, Bramante, Peruzzi, and Raphael can be found within the church. It was also those artists that made St. Peter’s Basilica a majestic and solemn place. The church is free and opens from 7:00 - 19:00 daily.

Driving Directions:

  1. rom Vatican City Entry, head east on Via Sant'Anna toward Borgo Pio
  2. Continue onto Borgo Pio and turn left onto Via del Mascherino
  3. Turn right onto Via Stefano Porcari, then continue onto Via Giovanni Vitelleschi/Piazza Americo Capponi
  4. Head to Via delle Fosse di Castello and continue onto Piazza Adriana
  5. Continue onto Piazza Pia, then Turn right onto Via della Conciliazione
  6. Park your car on a parking space and head west on Via della Conciliazione toward Via dell'Erba by foot
  7. Continue onto Piazza Papa Pio XII and head onto Largo degli Alicorni
  8. Enter the Vatican City and walk towards the St. Patrick’s Basilica

Things To Do

These are the things you can do inside the marvelous St. Peter’s Basilica.

1. Marvel at the St. Peter’s Basilica’s Interior

Known for its wonderful wall arts and statues, the interior of this church will leave every people on this planet amazed! St. Peter’s Basilica is known to be the world’s most majestic church and all because of these reasons. The church has 395 statues inside of it, and you wouldn’t want to miss all of that, especially the famous Pietà by Michelangelo.

2. Take a glimpse at the amazingly preserved body of Pope John XXIII

This church has so many unique and shocking features, including the late Pope John XXIII body. Thirty-eight years after his death, the Pope’s body was transferred to the St. Peter’s Basilica and was settled inside an exquisitely decorated glass coffin. When the pope died, his body was injected with a special liquid, the reason his body was so well-preserved up to this day.

Climb the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

If you want to see the breathtaking view of the whole Vatican City, you must not miss climbing up the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. To climb the dome, you’ll be taking 551 steps! But, the reward will be outstanding! You’ll see the full view of the City with the Vatican gardens and some statues underneath.

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square)

The plaza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Piazza San Pietro, or the St. Peter’s Square, which is known to be one of the biggest and most beautiful squares in the world. It was built by Bernini between 1657-1667 and had the size of 320 meters long and 240 meters wide and can hold more than 300,000 people.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Vatican City Entry, head east on Via Sant'Anna toward Borgo Pio
  2. Continue onto Borgo Pio and turn left onto Via del Mascherino
  3. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Borgo Vittorio
  4. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Via del Falco and continue onto Vicolo del Farinone
  5. Turn right onto Via dei Corridori. Park your car in a parking space
  6. Head west on Via dei Corridori toward Via Rusticucci by foot, then continue onto Largo del Colonnato
  7. Turn left to stay on Largo del Colonnato and enter the Vatican City.
  8. After 61 m, Turn right, and you’ll reach St. Peter’s Square.

Things To Do

These are just some of the things you can do in Piazza San Pietro or St. Peter’s Square.

1. Admire the St. Peter’s Basilica from the outside

This marvelous church in the world is surely not admired just because of its interior; it also has an amazing exterior design! You’ll also see here the colonnade designed by Bernini. At the top, you’ll see 140 statues of different saints carved by various artists for over 40 years.

2. Look at the time through the Obelisk

In the square, you’ll see the majestic Egyptian Obelisk, which is 25 meters in height. It was brought over to Rome by Caligula in 37 BC, back when the Vatican City was not yet a country. It used to mark the epicenter of games and executions that would become known as the Circus of Nero.

This was also the place where it was believed that St. Peter the Apostle was crucified upside down. This Egyptian Obelisk stands as a clock and is the focal point of St. Peter’s Square. This is also the last remnant of the Circus of Nero during the Roman Empire.

3. See the Swiss Guards in Action

These Swiss Guards are not just your ordinary guards. They are the protectors of the Holy See. Aside from their interesting uniforms, what makes them amazing is how they are well-trained to protect the whole Vatican State, particularly the Holy See.

4. Be Blessed by the Pope Himself

One of the main reasons why people gather here in St. Peter’s Square, especially the Catholic faith believers, is to see the Pope himself. The Pope holds a general audience in this site every Wednesday, and who would want to miss seeing the leader of the whole Catholic Church? Just make sure to reserve your free tickets as early as possible so you won’t run out of seats!

Vatican Museums

Vatican City really is gifted with so much culture and history. Another thing that attracts a lot of tourists all over the world is its museums. The Vatican City is known to have the museums that hold the largest collection of arts throughout history!

The Vatican Museum is composed of 54 museums with different arts from various known artists, and they are mostly a collection of different Popes. Pope Julius II was the first Pope to donate all his arts collection in this museum during the year 1503. This act inspired many families and popes after him to donate their collection of arts. Because of this, Vatican Museum became the place that has the largest collection of arts in the world.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the Vatican City entry, Head east on Via Sant'Anna toward Borgo Pio
  2. Continue onto Borgo Pio and turn left onto Via del Mascherino
  3. Continue onto Piazza del Risorgimento, then turn left to stay on Piazza del Risorgimento
  4. Turn right onto Viale dei Bastioni di Michelangelo and turn left onto Viale Vaticano
  5. Your destination will be on the left.

Things To Do

Here are some of the things you can see when you travel inside the Vatican Museums:

1. See Raphael's Transfiguration

Inside the Vatican Museum is the Pinacoteca, a gallery where paintings are displayed. Inside the gallery, you’ll see numerous paintings made by famous artists and Raphael’s last painting before he dies, the Transfiguration. This painting is significant to the artists as it served as the bridge between High Renaissance painting and baroque style painting. This painting also inspired Michaelangelo’s painting ‘’The Last Judgement’’ on the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

2. See the Ancient Greek and Roman Sculptures

The museum in the Vatican Museums that hold this collection of Sculptures is the Pio-Clementine Museums. This museum is named after the two Popes that looked after these collections in the late 1700s, namely Clement XIV and Pius VI. After seeing all these sculptures and knowing the history behind each of them, you’ll surely fall in love with them!

3. Travel the World by passing through Galleria delle Carte Geografiche

Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, also known as the Maps Gallery, is where you’ll find the largest collection of geographical paintings ever existed. These wall-sized map collections dating from the 16th century commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII. Even if these paintings were made during the 1500s, it’s still amazing how they are so detailed and accurate in making them!

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